Ikebe Shakedown performed at World Café Live Tuesday April 24th, and their variety of Afro-influenced jazz definitely spiced up the venue that night.  Composed of seven guys from Brooklyn, NY, this horn-forward ensemble delivered an explosive sound that more than encouraged dancing.

The group’s saucy riffs brought forth by trumpet, trombone, baritone and tenor saxophones, guitar, bass, congas and drums engulfed the room with a type of music not widely cultivated among young musicians these days.  It was refreshing to hear completely instrumental tunes that tickled my innards in a way that indie rock just doesn’t do.  The septet is pulling shots from jazz, soul, and Afro-funk in this modern day music scene.  Each piece was electrifying, and sitting there sipping a fairly high-alcohol beer seemed to make the riffs a little groovier, the solos slightly more jam-worthy.

“In Circles”, from the group’s latest self-titled record, oddly called to mind the song “They Say I’m Different” by Betty Davis, but only in the bass line.  The electric guitar gave it a little bit of a rocky tone, which was a cool contrast against the very jazzy brass work.  “Tujunga” sported some shaker action, as well as lots of horn improvisation coupled with funk rings in the guitar.  The song’s staccato horn theme and fast congas gave it a bit of a Caribbean feel, and there was even some seemingly choreographed swaying and head-nodding among the brass players.

A new and nameless song that felt very minor was built on funk bass, guitar chirps, and a horn theme played in unison.  A sax solo sailed on top of all of this, eventually escalating to a high-volume breakdown, which later converged back to the main melody to close out the number.  The last piece of the set, “Don’t Contradict”, was off the hook with its guitar rattles that sounded like they were under the influence of the wah effect.  The horn melodies were crisp but on the laid back side, improv-y, and mirrored the one vocal line that the guys sang together.  With some encouragement from the band, the audience enthusiastically went into a soul-clap rhythm- a very nice interactive way to cap the set.

My first impression of Ikebe Shakedown was a pleasant surprise.  It’s not often that you hear a group of musicians play a unique hybrid of jazz with such skill and musical sincerity.  If you’re looking for something that you don’t usually listen to, check out the band’s music here.  You won’t be disappointed.

“Don’t Contradict” Live

Culture Concert Review: Ikebe Shakedown @ World Cafe Live 4/24